A lad’s life at Easterton Sands – 1950s

At Market Lavington Museum, we are very grateful to all those people who have made oral history recordings for us. We have already written about some of Jim’s Easterton boyhood memories 1940s-60s. Here are some more.

Geologically, Easterton stretches from the chalk of Salisbury Plain in the south to the greensand area in the north. By the 1950s, Jim’s family had moved to Easterton Sands about half a mile out of the village, so much of his time was spent playing around there, with his pals, Keith and Robert.

The road through the Sands is called Kings Road, after a local vicar, Reverend King. Jim’s grandfather, James Spencer of Halstead Farm, in the centre of Easterton village, had hauled the chalk from the plain to form the base for Kings Road. Indeed, in Gillman’s Directory, the entry for Spencer J., Halstead, gives his occupation as farmer & haulier.

Kings Road

Nowadays, Kings Road is used by cars and the occasional farm vehicle, but Jim recalled that, on Mondays and Thursdays, a double decker bus made its way from Easterton to Ledge Hill, on the edge of Market Lavington, where it turned round and drove back to Easterton again.

Jim remembered an elderly gentleman who lived near Hillcroft Farm on the Sands. He rode an old bike and chatted to the boys and gave them biscuits. He had a grandfather clock in his house, which was too tall for the room, so he had cut a hole in the floor to accommodate it.

Jim and his friends used to play at Wroughton’s Folly and the folly past Sands Farm, which he thought had been an air raid shelter. Their route from one folly to the other went along the Patney junction to Westbury railway line! They called the local steam hauled train the Patney Puff, but the faster Cornish Riviera train also took that route. Sometimes the boys would put a penny on the rails and hope the engine would run over it and stretch it out of shape.

Of course, Jim had memories of the village centre and Salisbury Plain too, which we will share another time.

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